There Are a Few Questions To Be Answered With D.C. United's 3-1 Win at Orlando's Exploria Stadium.
Twenty years ago, Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray starred in the well-written classic "Lost in Translation." The movie explored a mystifying relationship between an elder, downtrodden actor and a young and bright-eyed young lady who unexpectedly meet in Tokyo. The movie brilliantly depicts how two very different people can become close in an instant, as long as there is a common bond. That common bond is what Orlando City is missing, and after eight regular season games, it is time to ask questions. Here are a few short takes:
I have praised Orlando City's Luiz Muzzi and manager Oscar Pareja for their off-season work in both rebuilding and top-grading the player pool. I stand with my praise as this roster, player-for-player, is of much higher quality than the 2022 player pool. With the ingredients are at Pareja's disposal, is there a systemic issue with the tactics, or is the system employed by Pareja not one the players can handle? After eight regular season and two CCL games, it would seem, on the surface, that the melding of the new players would have taken place. It has not.
The home field advantage, often a difference-maker for teams in all sports, is not exactly a factor for the Lions. If I could put my finger on the problem, I would quickly become a sports psychologist, but I have no idea why Orlando does not get results in front of their home supporters. Last year's home record was alarming and the start to this year is no different. OCSC has lost three straight at home and now has been outscored 7-3 in five games in front of its home crowd. Puzzling and concerning to say the least.
Maximizing your Designated Players. Whether still injured or not, Ercan Kara has become a second thought, especially with rookie Duncan McGuire showing all of us his relentless work rate, ability to hold-up play, and his finishing prowess. One of the questions to ponder, with the summer transfer window in sight, is how Orlando City addresses goal-scoring. We all thought that the addition of Martin Ojeda and Ramiro Enrique, as well as the maturing Facundo Torres, would provide Orlando with a high-powered attack, but only eight goals in eight games tells us a different story.
The common bond: Do the players need more than ten games to meld? Is the system Pareja enjoys playing not working with the type of players added to the roster? Will it just take more time for the players to excel and play at expected levels? This is not about effort - the Lions', game-after-game, have a no-quit attitude with a high level of fitness and work rate. This is about the common bond.
After eight regular season games, the Lions sit on eleven points for ninth place in the eastern conference. L.A. Galaxy come to Exploria Stadium this Saturday night, a team that has only scored seven goals with one win after 8 games. Let us all hope the Orlando crowd comes out in force and that the home-field advantage actually comes to fruition against Chicharito and the Galaxy.
Gary Levitt @gary1123 justmytake.net
photo credit: Major League Soccer